WWC review of this study

The effects of Read Naturally on grade 3 reading.

Heistad, D. (2008). Unpublished manuscript.

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
    , grade

Reviewed: June 2016

Meets WWC standards with reservations

Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Study sample characteristics were not reported.

Reviewed: July 2013

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations
Reading achievement outcomes—Statistically significant positive effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Northwest Achievement Levels Test (NALT): Reading

Read Naturally vs. business as usual


Grade 3;
44 students





Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA): Reading portion

Read Naturally vs. business as usual


Grade 3;
44 students





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • 13% English language learners

  • Female: 59%
    Male: 41%

  • Urban
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  • Race
    Native American
  • Ethnicity
    Not Hispanic or Latino    


The study took place in the Minneapolis Public School District, in schools that were not on the No Child Left Behind list of schools failing to make adequate yearly progress in 2003.

Study sample

Read Naturally® was implemented with third-grade students in three elementary schools in the Minneapolis Public School District. Comparison group students were drawn from the same grade in the same school district. The author does not specify the number of schools attended by comparison group students. Students were selected for the Read Naturally® intervention based on parent and teacher recommendations and, according to the author, were generally not considered to be “on course” for proficiency on the state assessments administered in the spring of grade 3. The analysis sample included 44 third-grade students (22 in the Read Naturally® group and 22 in the comparison group). The demographic characteristics of Read Naturally® students were: 41% male, 4% classified as special education, 35% English language learners (ELL), and 50% were receiving free or reduced-price lunch. With respect to race and ethnicity, 39% of the intervention group students were Hispanic, 36% were African American, 22% were White, and 14% were Native American. No similar demographic information for the comparison sample was presented in the study.

Intervention Group

Two schools used the Read Naturally® Masters Edition that employed audio cassettes and hard-copy reading materials, while one school used the Read Naturally® Software Edition. Two schools implemented Read Naturally® as a pull-out intervention during the school day, while one school used it as part of an after-school program. No further information was provided in the study regarding how the intervention was implemented.

Comparison Group

The study author created a matched comparison group from within the Minneapolis Public Schools using students that were not receiving the Read Naturally® program. Students were first matched by a pretest score on the NALT Reading measure, followed by the following demographic factors: grade, ELL status, special education status, free or reduced-price lunch, race/ethnicity, home language, and gender. Read Naturally® students were only matched to students who attended schools with the same AYP status as their own school.

Outcome descriptions

Eligible outcome measures included the reading portions of two state-based assessments, the NALT and the MCA. Both assessments were administered in the spring, with the prior year’s NALT scores being used as a pretest measure. For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendix B. In addition, Reading Fluency Monitor (RFM) passages were administered in fall, winter, and spring. The findings from the RFM outcome measure are not included in this review because baseline equivalence for the analytic sample was not established.

Support for implementation

A Read Naturally® instructor trained one teacher in each school on the Read Naturally® procedures. Training included: initial assessment of student level of instruction using curriculumbased measurement procedures, placement procedures, use of comprehension assessments and strategies, student goal setting, and progress monitoring procedures.

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • Read Naturally, Inc. (n.d.). Case 9: Third-grade students, Minneapolis, Minn. Retrieved from http://www.readnaturally.com


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